Spring 2011

Mother’s Day arrived with sunny, warm breezes, and right on schedule with it, this year’s crop of black flies. But that only means that soon to follow will be lilies of the valley, lilacs and lupines, as nature balances a perfect spring with just a few irritants. (Yes, the ticks are here, too.) We all mark the glorious Maine spring with different appreciations: Some just dig in the dirt, others wash windows or clean boat bilges, some are happy with the church yard sales, while others get on their bikes and forage for fiddleheads on Beauchamp Point. Whatever floats your boat is what we say, as long as you get out and enjoy it.

The repaving project of Route 1 during the midnight hours by contractors has added dimension to an otherwise normal Midcoast schedule of early to bed, early to rise. Now late at night, contractors in small clumps operating large equipment are backlit by bright lights as they mill through old tarmac, heavy machinery grinding away. And then under daylight, decades of old pavement is stripped away and we glimpse down several layers into the past. It is easy to understand how ancient cities get buried, as life continues to pile on top of what came before.

Just saying

Once upon a time there was an old man who lived in a tiny village on the coast of Maine. Seventy or so years before when the man was a little boy he used to go into many of the houses in that village to visit the old people who lived there.

He’d visit Captain Thomas and Henry and Frank and Phoebe and Percy and Lena and Harvey and Aunt Grace and Alex and Captain Freddy and Uncle Frank and Old Man Elo and Gram Elo and just about everybody else in between.

But the world had changed and children didn’t come around to visit old people anymore and you never even saw children playing in the neighborhood because the world had changed. But one day when the man walked out into the sunshine on his old granite back steps he saw a little dog. The dog was frightened and quickly ran away when the old man came out on his back steps. And the old man thought to himself how nice it was to have someone from the neighborhood stop by so he went into the house and got, well, it might have been a cookie. In any case it was something dogs like to eat, and the old man put that little scrap on the ground over where the dog had been standing. And within a few days the little dog was hanging out in that old man’s back lawn on a regular basis looking for good things to eat like dogs or skunks do.

Well, if you’ve read many stories about old men and dogs who make friends you already know without being told that every day that dog was getting more and more comfortable with the old man and would come closer and closer to those old granite back steps. And the old man would talk a peculiar brand of Swedish to that dog and say things to that dog in five or six other languages because the dog understood every one of them just as well as he did English.

Then, finally, one day the old man stepped out of the house and what do you suppose he saw right there on his old granite porch? Only one of his shoes because that rotten little dog had carried off the other one. If there is a moral to this story you are going to have to figure out what it is for yourself because I am not one to impose my opinions on others.

— The humble Farmer

A fresh perspective

A few weeks ago, The Herald Gazette office in Camden was lucky enough to have high school student Jaimie Sites helping out during vacation. He circulated downtown with a camera, gathering images, and impressions. He also wrote “Five things I have learned working at the paper for a week.”

They are:

1) One thing I learned is just be yourself.

2) Another thing I have learned is there is some charity work upstairs [United Mid-Coast Charities].

3) The Camden Herald was established in 1869.

4) You never know what I am going to be doing here.

5) They have newspapers dating back to the 1930s and working at the newspaper takes some work.

Jaimie pretty much summed up the truth (except there are also papers dating back to the late 1800s).

Watch for Andy

WCSH Channel 6 in Portland and Channel 2 in Bangor is now running a 30-second loop throughout the month of May, profiling Andy Schlebecker as a “Teen Who Cares” regarding his role in getting The Rig in Camden off the ground. There will also be a segment about Andy and The Rig on the May 29 newscast.

Laid to rest with military honors

Loren Wirt Bennett III, a Camden High School graduate and retired from the U.S. Army, was laid to rest Monday, May 2, 2011, with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia. Washington, D.C. was on high alert that day because it was right after the death of Osama Bin Laden was announced. Loren’s gravesite is in the niche near the side of the Pentagon that was hit by a passenger jet on Sept. 11, 2001. Loren’s name, along with his father’s, Loren Wirt Bennett II, and brother, Harvey Bennett, are on the Veterans Memorial monument on the Village Green in Camden.